Energy & Grid

Xi Lu, Shi Chen, Chris P. Nielsen, Chongyu Zhang, Jiacong Li, Xu He, Ye Wu, Shuxiao Wang, Feng Song, Chu Wei, Kebin He, Michael P. McElroy, and Jiming Hao. 2021. “Combined solar power and storage as cost-competitive and grid-compatible supply for China’s future carbon-neutral electricity system.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118, October, Pp. 42. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the world’s largest CO2 emitter, China’s ability to decarbonize its energy system strongly affects the prospect of achieving the 1.5 °C limit in global, average surface-temperature rise. Understanding technically feasible, cost-competitive, and grid-compatible solar photovoltaic (PV) power potentials spatiotemporally is critical for China’s future energy pathway. This study develops an integrated model to evaluate the spatiotemporal evolution of the technology-economic-grid PV potentials in China during 2020 to 2060 under the assumption of continued cost degression in line with the trends of the past decade. The model considers the spatialized technical constraints, up-to-date economic parameters, and dynamic hourly interactions with the power grid. In contrast to the PV production of 0.26 PWh in 2020, results suggest that China’s technical potential will increase from 99.2 PWh in 2020 to 146.1 PWh in 2060 along with technical advances, and the national average power price could decrease from 4.9 to 0.4 US cents/kWh during the same period. About 78.6% (79.7 PWh) of China’s technical potential will realize price parity to coal-fired power in 2021, with price parity achieved nationwide by 2023. The cost advantage of solar PV allows for coupling with storage to generate cost-competitive and grid-compatible electricity. The combined systems potentially could supply 7.2 PWh of grid-compatible electricity in 2060 to meet 43.2% of the country’s electricity demand at a price below 2.5 US cents/kWh. The findings highlight a crucial energy transition point, not only for China but for other countries, at which combined solar power and storage systems become a cheaper alternative to coal-fired electricity and a more grid-compatible option.

Lu et al. is the cover article of this October issue of PNAS
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Jing Cao, Mun S. Ho, Rong Ma, and Fei Teng. 2021. “When carbon emission trading meets a regulated industry: Evidence from the electricity sector of China.” Journal for Public Economics, 200, August, Pp. 104470. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper provides retrospective firm-level evidence on the effectiveness of China’s carbon market pilots in reducing emissions in the electricity sector. We show that the carbon emission trading system (ETS) has no effect on changing coal efficiency of regulated coal- fired power plants. Although we find a significant reduction in coal consumption associated with ETS participation, this reduction was achieved by reducing electricity production. The output contraction in the treated plants is not due to their optimizing behavior but is likely driven by government decisions, because the impacts of emission permits on marginal costs are small relative to the controlled electricity prices and the reduction is associated with financial losses. In addition, we find no evidence of carbon leakage to other provinces, but a significant increase in the production of non-coal-fired power plants in the ETS regions. 
Haiyang Lin, Qiuwei Wu, Xinyu Chen, Xi Yang, Xinyang Guo, Jiajun Lv, Tianguang Lu, Shaojie Song, and Michael B. McElroy. 2021. “Economic and technological feasibility of using power-to-hydrogen technology under higher wind penetration in China.” Renewable Energy, 173, Pp. 569-580. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Hydrogen can play a key role in facilitating the transition to a future deeply decarbonized energy system and can help accommodate higher penetrations of renewables in the power system. Arguments to justify this conclusion are supported by an analysis based on real-world data from China’s Western Inner Mongolia (WIM). The economic feasibility and decarbonization potential of renewable-based hydrogen production are discussed through an integrated power-hydrogen-emission analytical framework. The framework combines a high-resolution wind resource analysis with hourly simulation for the operation of power systems and hydrogen production considering technical and economic specifications on selection of three different types of electrolyzers and two operating modes. The results indicate that using wind power to produce hydrogen could provide a cost-competitive alternative (<2 $kg-1) to WIM’s current coal-dominated hydrogen manufacturing system, contributing at the same time to important reductions in wind curtailment and CO2 emissions. The levelized cost for hydrogen production is projected to decrease in the coming decade consistent with increases in wind power capacity and decreases in capital costs for electrolyzers. Lessons learned from the study can be applied to other regions and countries to explore possibilities for larger scale economically justified and carbon saving hydrogen production with renewables.
Yu Fu, Haiyang Lin, Cuiping Ma, Bo Sun, Hailong Li, Qie Sun, and Ronald Wennersten. 2021. “Effects of uncertainties on the capacity and operation of an integrated energy system.” Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, 48, December, Pp. 101625. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Uncertainty is a common and critical problem for planning the capacity and operation of integrated energy systems (IESs). This study evaluates the effects of uncertainties on the capacity and operation of an IES. To this aim, system planning and operation with uncertainties are optimized by a two-stage stochastic programming model and compared with a referencing deterministic case. Specifically, the uncertainties of photovoltaic (PV) generation and energy demand are investigated.

Regarding system capacity, a larger energy storage capacity is needed to accommodate a higher uncertainty. The superimposed uncertainties have a higher effect on system capacity than the sum of the effect of each uncertainty. The uncertainty of energy demand has a higher impact than the uncertainty of PV generation.

Regarding system operation, the increase in operation cost is smaller than the increase in investment cost and total cost. In addition, the average flexibility provided by the energy storage increases with uncertainty and uncertainties affect the change rate for power charging/discharging of the electric energy storage. Regarding the effect on the grid, the uncertainties increase not only the magnitude of ramping-rate, but also the frequency of power-dispatch.

Haiyang Lin, Caiyun Bian, Yu Wang, Hailong Li, Qie Sun, and Fredrik Wallen. 2022. “Optimal planning of intra-city public charging stations.” Energy, 238, Part C, Pp. 121948. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Intra-city Public Charging Stations (PCSs) play a crucial role in promoting the mass deployment of Electric Vehicles (EVs). To motivate the investment on PCSs, this work proposes a novel framework to find the optimal location and size of PCSs, which can maximize the benefit of the investment. The impacts of charging behaviors and urban land uses on the income of PCSs are taken into account. An agent-based trip chain model is used to represent the travel and charging patterns of EV owners. A cell-based geographic partition method based on Geographic Information System is employed to reflect the influence of land use on the dynamic and stochastic nature of EV charging behaviors. Based on the distributed charging demand, the optimal location and size of PCSs are determined by mixed-integer linear programming. Västerås, a Swedish city, is used as a case study to demonstrate the model's effectiveness. It is found that the charging demand served by a PCS is critical to its profitability, which is greatly affected by the charging behavior of drivers, the location and the service range of PCS. Moreover, charging price is another significant factor impacting profitability, and consequently the competitiveness of slow and fast PCSs.
Jaume Freire-González and Mun S. Ho. 2021. “Voluntary actions in households and climate change mitigation.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 321, 25 October, Pp. 128930. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Governments foster voluntary actions within households to mitigate climate change. However, the literature suggests that they may not be as effective as expected due to rebound effects. We use a dynamic economy–energy–environment computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the Catalan economy to simulate the effect of 75 different actions on GDP and net CO2 emissions, over a 20-year period. We also examine how a carbon tax could counteract the carbon rebound effects. We find energy rebound effects ranging from 61.77% to 117.49% for voluntary energy conservation actions, depending on where the spending is redirected, with similar carbon rebound values. In our main scenarios, where energy savings are redirected to savings and all non-energy goods proportionally, the rebound is between 64.47% and 66.90%. We also find, for these scenarios, that a carbon tax of between 2.4 and 3.6 €/ton per percentage point of voluntary energy reduction would totally offset carbon rebound effects. These results suggest that voluntary actions in households need additional measures to provide the expected results in terms of energy use reduction and climate change mitigation.